CLOWN, (or Clowne) a parish in the hundred of Scarsdale, in the county of Derby, 6 miles S.W. of Worksop, 8 E. of Chesterfield, its post town, and 4 from the Staveley station of the Midland railway. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Lichfield, value £311, in the patronage of the lord chancellor.

The church, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, is an ancient edifice, partly in the Norman, and partly in the early English style. The Primitive Methodists, Wesleyan Association, and Wesleyan Methodists have places of worship. There is an endowed school. The charities produce about £20 per annum. The lord of the manor is the Duke of Portland.”

from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868


Archives & Libraries

The Clowne Library on Recreation Close is closed Wednesdays and Sundays. They do not have a Local Studies and Family History section to help you, but they do have free Internet access.



John SLATER has a photograph of the Clowne and Barlborough burial ground on Geo-graph, taken in January, 2015.

Michael PATTERSON also has a photograph of the Cemetery on Geo-graph, taken in February, 2006.



  • The parish was in the Carburton sub-district of the Worksop Registration District.
  • The table below gives census piece numbers, where known:
Piece No.
1851 H.O. 107 / 2122
1861 R.G. 9 / 2422
1871 R.G. 10 / 3463
1891 R.G. 12 / 2647

Church History

  • The Anglican parish church is dedicated to Saint John the Baptist.
  • The church was built in the 12th century, but the specific year is unreported.
  • The churchyard was expanded by one acre in 1898.
  • The church seats 300.
  • Bill HENDERSON provides a photograph of St John The Baptist Church on Geo-graph, taken in August, 2008.

Church Records

  • The Anglican parish register dates from 1569 for all entries, but early years are in bad condition.
  • Mike SPENCER provides a list of partially extracted Parish Register burials for your review. Your additions and corrections are welcomed.
  • The church was in the rural deanery of Staveley.
  • The Primitive Methodists built a small stone chapel here in 1834.
  • The Wesleyan Methodists built a chapel here in 1837.
  • David BEVIS provides a photograph of the North Road Methodist Chapel on Geo-graph, taken in January, 2007.

Civil Registration

  • Civil Registration began in July, 1837.
  • The parish was in the Carburton sub-district of the Worksop Registration District.

Description & Travel

"CLOWN, a village and parish, in the same hundred as Whitwell, is about three miles N.W. from that village, two S.S.E. from Barlhorough, and three and a half N. from Bolsover. In the neighbourhood of the village coal and lime-stone are obtained, and there is a small manufactory for sail-cloth; but the inhabitants are chiefly employed in agricultural labours. There is a chalybeate spring, called Shuttlewood Spa, in this parish; and a piece of water, called Harlesthorpe Dam, covering about four acres."

[Description from Pigot and Co's Commercial Directory for Derbyshire, 1835]

The parish is 9 miles northeast of Chesterfield, covers 1,922 acres and includes the hamlets of Damsbrook, Hickin Wood and Halsthorpe (or Harlesthorpe). The village of Clowne has its own website.

You can see pictures of Clowne which are provided by:






Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Clowne has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.



  • Clowne is mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book as "Clune".
  • John CLITHEROE has a photograph of the 13th century Market Cross on Geo-graph, taken in March, 2012.
  • The plague raged though the village in 1586 and again in 1606. The victims were buried away from the village in Monument Field.
  • The village grew exponentially along with the 19th century growth of the coal mines.
  • Rose KELLAND offers this notice from the Derbyshire Times & Chesterfield Herald of Wednesday, 18 November 1903: "The typhoid epidemic in the Clowne district is now abating. There have been altogether 50 cases."
  • In the same issue: "Mr. PARRY KING has won the Clowne Liberal Club billiard handicap."
  • Ben BROOKSBANK has a photograph of Mill Street in 1957 on Geo-graph, taken in September 1957.
  • For more history, visit the Clowne Historic Site.
  • J. THOMAS has a photograph of the Travellers Rest Inn on the A616 on Geo-graph, taken in August, 2014.
  • John SLATER has a photograph of the Nags Head public house on Geo-graph near the center of town, taken in January, 2015.


You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SK498753 (Lat/Lon: 53.272357, -1.254707), Clowne which are provided by:


Military History

  • Colonel John Erdeswick BUTLER-BOWDEN of Southgate House owned property here in 1911. He can be found here, also, in the 1901 census of the parish.
  • During World War One, there was an Elmton Red Cross Hospital here.

Military Records

  • Visit the the Clowne Roll of Honour site to see a list of those who fell in the two world wars and a photo of the monument.

There are the Commonwealth War Graves in St. John's churchyard:

1914 – 1919

  1. Walter J. FRANCERS, Royal Field Atillery, age 26, died 5 Jan 1919.
  2. Horace JOHNSON, Royal Field Artillery, age 20, died 16 Jul 1918.
  3. E. LEARY, Machine Gun Corps Infantry, age unknown, died 5 Oct 1919.

World War II

  1. George Henry CLARKE, Scots Guards, age 36, died 18m Oct 1940.
  2. James FROST, Scots Guards, age 30, died 18 Oct 1940.
  3. George Cyril PHILLIPS, RAF Vol. Rsrv., age 32, died 24 Jan 1943.
  4. Douglas Kitchener PLATTS, Royal Artillery, age 22 died 11 May 1940.
  5. Celia THOMPSON, Aux, Terr, Service, age 22, died 28 Jul 1944.
  6. Arthur WILD, Recon. Corps, RAC, age 25, died 31 Aug 1943.

Names, Geographical

From the Clowne Parish Council site:

"Clowne has adopted many names over its 1000 year history, however it all began with 'Clun', which is thought to be a Celtic word meaning ‘spring’, relating to the abundance of life giving natural springs located in and around the town. Clowne has been known through the years as Clune, Clon, Clouen and Clown."


Stephen KIMBERLEY reports that the Derbyshire Times of 19th August 1999 has an obituary for: FOSTER Allan 62 Clowne.


Politics & Government

  • This place was an ancient parish in Derby county and became a modern Civil Parish when those were established.
  • This parish was in the ancient Scarsdale Hundred (or Wapentake).
  • You may contact the Clowne Parish Council regarding civic or political matters, but please do NOT ask them to do family history searches for you.
  • Representatives from the four Parish Councils of Clowne, Whitwell, Barlborough and Creswell were elected in 1894 to serve on Clowne Rural District Council which governed the area until authority was transferred to Bolsover District Council in 1974.

Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • Bastardy cases would be heard in the Eckington petty session hearings.
  • There is an index of over 30 Clowne Bastardy Paper held at the DRO on the Yesterdays Journey website. Select "Bastardy Papers" on the left side, then "Clowne" from the list of parishes displayed.
  • After the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act reforms , this parish became part of the Worksop Poor Law Union.


A Free School was founded here in 1730.

In 1877 villagers of Clowne formed the Clowne School Board. The "Old School" was built in 1895.

David BEVIS has a photograph of Clowne School on Geo-graph, taken in October, 2004.

Clowne had its own mining college in the 1800s and early 1900s. The building has since been demolished.

Chesterfield College has a satellite campus in Clowne on High Street west of Mansfield Road.